Preparation is the key to bagging a job. Brush up your SEO knowledge with our 101 SEO interview questions and gain the confidence you need to face an interview.
The 101 important SEO interview questions and answers have been formulated to help you prepare for an SEO job interview and land yourself a beginner level role as an SEO Analyst/SEO Associate. These SEO interview questions and answers will surely make you interview ready.
So let’s get started!
Basic SEO Interview Questions
1. How would you explain SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is performed to enhance the visibility of a web page so that it can rank higher and appear at the top of search engine result pages. This will result in high click-through-rate which will lead to an increase in traffic.
2. What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO refers to the SEO activities you do on your website to rank higher on search results. It includes optimizing keywords in the content, URL structure, HTML code, Title and Meta Tags, Image Alt Text, etc.
3. What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-Page SEO refers to activities you do outside of your website. It includes link building, blogging, social media marketing, content marketing, etc. which helps to build the brand presence of a business website in various digital platforms.
4. What is White Hat SEO? Give examples.
White Hat SEO refers to building links in ways that are aligned with the terms and conditions of Google. It is basically the ethical way of performing SEO activities.
5. What is Black Hat SEO? Give examples.
Black Hat SEO is building links in illegal ways which do not agree with Google’s terms and conditions. A website could be penalized for following black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, hidden text, cloaking, duplicate content, etc.
6. What are the steps in an SEO process?
The important steps in the SEO process are:
- Keyword Research
- Competitor Analysis
- Writing Unique Content
- Optimize the content with On-Page SEO practices
- Perform Off-page link building activities
- Promote the content via Social Media
- Grab high authority links in an organic manner
- Analyze the reports from an Analytics Tool
7. Name a few basic/free SEO tools
- Google Search Console
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Analytics
- Google Trends
- Yoast SEO
- Screaming Frog
- Moz Bar
8. What is Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic refers to the number of visitors to a site coming from search engine results. No monetary investment made to generate organic traffic.
9. What is Paid Traffic?
Paid traffic is a result of search engine marketing wherein traffic is generated through a paid form of marketing such as search engine ads.
10. What is Referral Traffic?
Referral traffic refers to the number of visitors who came to your site from sources outside of the search engine.
Search Engine related SEO Interview Questions
11. What is a crawler/spider?
A crawler or a spider is a bot that crawls all over the web, collects data and adds it to the search engine database.
12. What is indexing?
Indexing is the process followed by the search engines. It involves fetching data from webpages and storing it into its databases. This is done to process data and display the most relevant results to their users. Indexing is important for websites to get displayed in search engine result pages.
13. Explain SERPs
SERPs stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is the result page displayed in Google Search in response to the query searched by the user.
14. How does a search engine work?
A search engine performs 3 main functions. They are crawling, indexing, and retrieval.
Crawling is performed by software robots called web spiders or web crawlers. These crawlers visit websites or web pages and read them and also follow the links to other web pages of the site. The crawler makes a copy of each page it crawls and adds its URL to the index (a place where all data collected by the search engine is stored). It also revisits the previously crawled sites to check for any updates or changes. In case of any changes, it makes a copy of the changes to update the index.
Indexing is the process of storing the crawled data in the index which is a database of a search engine. Indexing collects data from all over the internet and organizes them based on their type and quality of the information.
The final function is retrieval. In this step, based on the search query made by the user, the search engine takes data from the index and applies its algorithms to provide a list of websites with relevant information in a particular order on the SERP.
15. How to check if a page has been indexed by Google?
There are 2 ways of checking if a website has been indexed by Google.
The first method is to check the Google index status of the website in the Google Search Console tool. You must first add the website on the dashboard and verify the ownership, and then click on the tab “Index status”. The Search Console tool will display the number of pages indexed by Google.
The second method is doing a manual search on Google. In this method, you enter the URL of your domain with “site:” before it (site:domainname.com). The indexed pages would reflect on the SERP.
On Page & Keyword related SEO Interview Questions
16. What do you understand by Keyword Research?
Keyword Research means finding out which words people enter into the search engines while looking for a similar subject. Using those keywords in the web content helps draw traffic to a particular website or web page.
17. Why keywords are important?
A keyword is a bridge that connects what people are searching for and the content on your website. Hence, the right keywords help the website reach the right audience. Choosing the right keywords and using them in the right places on your page lets Google understand who will benefit the most by finding your web page.
18. What are the different types of keywords?
Keywords used for targeting
On the basis of Buyer’s intent
On the basis of length:
Short tail keywords
Medium tail keywords
Long tail keywords
19. What are LSI keywords?
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords are the keywords that are closely related to your main keyword. For example, if your main keyword is chocolate, its LSI keywords could be chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, chocolate box, etc.
20. What is keyword Difficulty?
Keyword difficulty determines the competitiveness of the keyword. It is the score given to a keyword that signifies how easy or difficult it is to rank for this keyword.
21. What is keyword stemming?
Keyword stemming is the process of finding the base word of a search query and then creating new keywords by attaching prefixes, suffixes and pluralizing the base word. For example, if the search query is “Kingfisher”, then the base keyword could be “king”, using which more words can be created, such as kings, Vikings, kingdom, etc. This helps in expanding your keyword list and thus helps get more traffic.
22. What is the difference between Keyword Density, Keyword Stuffing, and keyword proximity?
Keyword density is the percentage of the number of times a keyword appears on a web page divided by the total number of words on the page.
Keyword Stuffing is considered as a black hat SEO practice in which keywords are overused to get an unfair rank advantage in Google rankings.
Keyword Proximity refers to the distance between two or more keywords within the body of the text.
23. Name a few Keyword Research tools
Google Keyword Planner (Free tool)
Ubersuggest (Free tool)
KWFinder (Paid tool)
Ahrefs Keyword research (Paid Tool)
24 Which are the most important places to include your focus keyword for better SEO?
The best places to include focus keywords are page title, H1, body of the content, meta title, meta description, anchor links, and Image Alt Tags.
25. What is Image Alt Text?
Image Alt Text means alternative text for an image. Since search engine crawlers are unable to understand images, Image Alt Text is used. It appears in place of the image to help the crawlers understand the context of the image. Image Alt Text is a good space to add keywords.
26. What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority or DA is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A DA score ranges from one to 100. Higher the score, the greater the website’s ability to rank.
27. What is Page Authority?
Page Authority or PA is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). A PA score ranges from one to 100. Higher the score, the greater the page’s ability to rank.
28. What is a spam score?
A spam score is a score developed by Moz which tells you what is the percentage of penalized/banned sites that have content similar to your website.
29. What do you mean by Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who exit the site without visiting other pages on the same domain.
30. What causes bounce rate and how to reduce it?
The causes for a bounce rate could be
- Slow loading page
- User is satisfied with the content on that page
- Misleading title tag/meta description
- Blank page or technical error
- Low-quality content
- Bounce rate can be reduced by
- Improving the readability of the content
- Avoiding Popups
- Creating a strong Call-to-Action
- Having valuable and relevant content
Off Page SEO Interview Questions
31. What is Guest Posting and how it is done?
Guest Posting is posting a blog or an article on other websites to get a link back to your website. It is done by sending out emails and asking for permission to guest post a blog on any high-quality website. This process is a way of acquiring links.
32. What is meant by Directory Submission?
Directory Submissions are websites that act as a web directory where you submit your website URL and acquire free backlinks back to your blog or web page.
33. What is Social Bookmarking?
Social bookmarking is an off page SEO technique to increase traffic. It is an online service which allows you to create and publicly share website bookmarks with other members of a community by tagging a web page with a web-based tool so you can easily access it later. Instead of saving them to your web browser, you are saving them on an online platform and make it visible to the public.
The examples of social bookmarking websites are Reddit, Digg, Scoop.it, myspace, etc.
34. Which social media channels are generally used for SEO activities?
Some of the most used social media channels are:
Blogging Platforms: WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, etc.
Social bookmarking sites: Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc.,
Social networking sites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
Video Sharing sites: YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, Dailymotion, etc.
Link Building SEO Interview Questions
35. What are backlinks/inbound links?
Backlinks are the incoming links to your website from other websites. If a page has good authority backlinks from several established websites, Google will give more importance to your page compared to pages with low authority backlinks.
36. What is a Do-follow link?
Do-follow links are the links that allow search engine crawlers to crawl through the page.
37. What is a No-follow link?
No-follow links are the links that restrict search engine crawlers from crawling through the page.
38. What is a No-Index tag?
No-follow tag is used when you don’t want the search engine to store a page for search results because it has low quality or thin content.
39. What is the ideal Do-Follow Vs No-Follow Vs No-Index ratio?
There is no particular fixed ratio that a website operator needs to follow.
However, an ideal ratio for Do follow Do Index : No follow no index : No follow do index is 50:25:25
40. What is link juice/link equity?
Link juice refers to the value a backlink passes onto another site. If a website that has high PageRank or relevant content recommends another website or a page with a link (DoFollow), it transmits a certain value/link juice to that site or page. Google considers link juice as an important ranking factor.
41. What is Link Velocity?
Link Velocity indicates how frequently other websites are linking back to your site. Basically, it’s the rate at which your backlink profile is growing over a period of time.
42. What do you understand by Internal Linking?
An Internal link is a link that makes the visitor navigate from one page to another page internally on a website. It helps in increasing the visitor’s time on the website and reducing the bounce rate.
43. What is link cloaking?
Link Cloaking is a Black Hat SEO Technique to mislead the Search Engine Bots into thinking the content on the page is different than what it actually is. Basically, in Link Cloaking the content is displayed differently to users and search engines bots (crawlers/spiders) based on IP addresses or the User-Agent HTTP header of the user.
44. What is an anchor text?
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink which usually blue and underlined text as per web standard. It is an SEO best practice to use keywords in anchor text which serves as a signal to search engines to determine the topic of a web page.
45. What is web 2.0 submissions?
Web 2.0 submission refers to the technique of posting content with a link to your website on interactive platforms/blogging sites. These submissions are done for SEO purposes as it lets you publish the content and create backlinks on it.
Note: Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the world wide web, where static HTML pages that made one-way conversation moved to a more interactive and dynamic web experience between users and web publishers.
46. What is PBN?
PBN stands for Private Blog Networks. It is a network created to post blogs for the sole purpose of creating backlinks to a website and making it rank higher on SERPs.
Technical SEO Interview Questions
47. What is a snippet?
A snippet is a structured data generally consisting of a title, a URL and a description of the page. Adding snippets to an existing HTML helps search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page.
48. What are meta tags/Meta Descriptions??
Meta descriptions are snippets of text that describe the content of a page. They are present on the page but are used as a code to display what the webpage is all about and also helps in increasing the Click Through Rate (CTR).
49. What are the character limitations of the Title and Meta Tags?
The Title tag should comprise of 65-70 characters, and the ideal length for Meta Description tag should be between 150 to 160 characters.
50. What are rich snippets?
In case of a normal snippet, Google shows the title, the URL and a description of what the page is about. A rich snippet shows extra information between the URL and the description such an image, star ratings and other information that could be useful for the searcher.
51. What is Google’s rich Answer Box?
Google’s rich answer box provides searchers with an informative answer to their search query in a box at the very top of the SERP along with a direct link to the page from which the answer came. Below is an example.
52. What is Schema Markup? What are the types of schema markups?
Schema markup is a code added to a website that helps the search engines understand what the content is about. The schema markup also provides searchers with better and more accurate information in the rich snippets that are displayed on the SERP.
The various types of schema markups are:
- Organization Schema Markup
- Person Market Schema Markup
- Local Business Schema Markup
- Product & Offer Schema Markup
- Article Schema Markup
- Video Schema Markup
- Recipe Schema Markup
- Rating/Review Schema Markup
- Event Schema Markup
- Breadcrumbs Markup
53. What is a Canonical URL?
If you have two URLs with similar content and you want Google to index the URL with the best content, then you must make it as a Canonical URL by attaching a rel=”canonical” tag to that page. Google will give priority to the Canonical URL and ignore the rest. It prevents duplication on the web.
54. What is SSL and why is it important?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. To prevent computers from reading your personal and sensitive information like Credit Card numbers, phone numbers, IDs and passwords, SSL Certificate needs to be installed onto the web browser. SSL Certificate protects the communication between the server and user and is no more readable by the computer. Once the SSL certificate is installed on your server, the application protocol (also known as HTTP) will change to HTTPs, where the ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’. SSL certificate not just protects you against hackers but also is an important factor to rank higher in search engines.
55. What is Robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a file which instructs search engine crawlers which web pages they should visit and which they shouldn’t.
56. What is an XML Sitemap?
An XML (Extensible Markup Language) Sitemap is a roadmap to all important pages of a website. It helps search engines find and crawl all pages that are essential on a website and need to be indexed.
57. What are 404 errors?
404 Error is an HTTP status code that means the webpage could not be found on the server. It could be because the page has been removed or moved and the URL was not changed accordingly. If the search engine crawls such 404 web pages frequently on a website, it could lead to a drop in its ranking.
58. What is error 503?
The 503 Service Unavailable error is an HTTP status code that means the website’s server is currently unavailable because the server is either busy or under maintenance.
59. What is a 301 redirect?
301 redirect is an HTTP status code which indicates the web page has been permanently moved and is now available on a new URL. By returning the 301 status code, the web server redirects all requests for a certain source-URL to the new target-URL.
60. What is AMP?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages create better and faster web experiences on the mobile. AMP helps to build user-friendly experiences for mobile by simplifying the HTML and following streamlined CSS rules.
61. What is web hosting? How does it work?
Web hosting means posting a website or web page onto the Internet. A web hosting service provider offers technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Web hosting lets the websites to be stored on special computers called servers. When an internet user types your website address or domain into their browser, their computer will then connect to your server and your web pages will be displayed to them through the browser.
62. How to optimize a URL?
- Use words that efficiently describe the contents of the page
- Have a short URL that is quicker to type and read
- Put the important keywords at the beginning of the URL
- Use hyphens and avoid underscores to separate the words
- If there are 2 URLs, choose the best URL and add a rel canonical tag to it
- Add a Favicon/website icon
- Add your mobile URLs to a sitemap
63. What can be done to decrease the loading time of a website?
1. Use the right image formats
GIF is suitable for images such as logos which have few colors
JPEG is suitable for images such as photographs which have lots of colors and details
PNG is ideal for high-quality transparent images
2. Lower the size of the images using image editing tools
Google related SEO Interview Questions
64. Can you name the founders of Google?
Google was co-founded in 1998 by two American computer scientists Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
65. Who is the present CEO of Google?
66. Name a few Google Algorithms updates?
Google Hummingbird update, Google Panda update, Google Penguin update, Google Pigeon update, Google Rankbrain update, Google pirate update, etc.
67. What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is a machine learning (AI) algorithm designed by Google to sort the search results. It also helps Google to process and understand the search queries more efficiently.
If you wish to read more about RankBrain, click on RankBrain Blog.
68. What is Penguin?
Penguin is a Google algorithm update that was launched in April 2012 to penalize the sites which are spamming the search engines by buying a large number of backlinks from various platforms.
69. What is Panda?
Panda is a Google algorithm update that was launched in February 2011 to diminish the value of low quality and thin websites, and reward websites having a high quality of content by ranking them higher in SERP.
70. What is Hummingbird?
Google Hummingbird algorithm update was launched in 2013 to understand the context of a users search queries and fetch accurate results to user’s queries in SERP.
71. What is Google Pigeon Update?
The Google Pigeon Update was released in July 2014 to give better local search results. This algorithm also affects local map listings to give precise results to the users.
72. What is EMD Update?
EMD update was released by Google in September 2012 to target low-quality websites that used search words in their domain name to rank higher on SERPs.
73. What is a Google Penalty?
Google penalty is a way of punishing the websites for any malpractice performed. For example, if the site has viruses, hidden links/text, cloaking, deceptive redirects, keyword stuffing, duplicate content, etc. A Google penalty means the site is either no longer listed on search results, or that its ranking has dropped dramatically and is invisible to the target audience.
74. What kind of Google penalties can you get?
Penalties can be of two types – algorithmic penalty and manual penalty. An algorithmic penalty is an automatically applied punishment by one of Google’s algorithms if the site violates its rules. In case of a manual penalty, a Google employee from teams like Search Quality team, Webspam Team, etc. takes action against a domain if it is suspected to be in violation of Google’s guidelines.
75. What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (previously known as Google webmasters) is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. The Search Console tool helps you understand how Google sees your site so that you can make necessary improvements.
76. What do you understand by Google Disavow Tools?
Google Disavow Tool is a part of Google Search Console which helps you get rid of the spammy links pointing to your domain. The tool is used to protect the site from bad links that are harming its reputation and affecting its rank on SERP.
77. What is Google sandbox?
Google Sandbox is applied to new websites until they are established enough to be displayed on the search results. Google places a website in the sandbox if it is suspicious of it. Since new websites make numerous links and add large content in a short period of time, Google assumes it could be spam and hence the website is put in the Sandbox mode until Google is sure that the website is legitimate.
78. What are Google’s most important ranking factors?
- Unique Content
- Website Traffic
- High Authority Backlinks
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Mobile friendly interface
- Domain power
- User experience
- Schema code
- Bounce Rate
79. What could be the domain factors that affect the ranking of a website on Google?
- Age of the domain
- Keyword in top level domain
- Keyword as the first word in a domain
- Domain registration length
- Keyword in subdomain
- Stability in the domain history
- Exact Match Domain
- Penalized WhoIs owner
- Country TLD extension helps to rank for that particular country
80. What could be the page level/on-page factors that affect the ranking of a website on Google?
- Keyword in the title tag and description tag
- A title tag that starts with a keyword
- Keyword in H1, H2, H3 tags
- Keyword density on the page
- Content length
- LSI keywords
- Page Loading Speed
- Use of AMP
- Hidden content/Duplicate content
- Domain Authority
81. What could be the site level factors that affect the ranking of a website on Google?
- Valuable and unique content
- SSL Certificate
- Site architecture
- A Sitemap makes indexing easy
- Server location
- YouTube Videos (Since Google owns YouTube)
82. What can you say about Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. It helps to track the number of visitors on a website and analyze their behaviour. This data from Google Analytics helps in creating and strengthening marketing strategies. It gives information about:
- The number of current users on your site
- City and Country location of your website visitors
- Through which channel you acquired visitors
- Behaviour of the user
- Popular pages of your website
- Bounce rate
- Dwell time of visitors
- Conversion rate
- Top selling products
- Ad performance
Tool related SEO interview Questions
83. What do you know about SEM rush?
SEMrush is a research and analysis tool used for preparing audit report, backlink analysis, URL rankings, competitive analysis, keyword research, content strategies, etc.
84. What do you know about Ahrefs?
AHREFS is an SEO analysis tools used for preparing audit report, backlink analysis, URL rankings, competitive analysis, keyword research, content strategies, etc.
85. Explain Google My business?
Google My Business is a free platform that helps small businesses create and manage their listings on Google search. This tool is particularly helpful for local SEO.
86. What is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is a WordPress Plugin that helps to optimize a website for search engines. It helps a website meet the highest SEO standards with regard to content as well as technical aspects of the website.
Other important SEO Interview Questions
87. What is Pogo Sticking?
Pogo Sticking is going back and forth between different search results. For example, clicking on the first result, going back to the results page and entering the second result/website. If the user clicks back and forth from your website, it gives a red signal to Google that this is not what the user is looking for which results in a fall in ranking.
88. What is NAP?
NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. NAP is highly useful for local SEO. Google takes NAP data into account when displaying companies in geo-targeted searches results.
89. What are Social Signals?
Social signals are the likes, shares, votes, pins, or views people place on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These social signals convey search engines that your brand is being talked about by consumers, and this improves your SERP ranking because search engines view social signals as trusted sources of recommendations.
90. What is SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is a standard procedure followed on a regular basis to analyse the performance of a website, its individual pages, and overall traffic. The purpose of the SEO audit is to identify the issues affecting organic search performance. The issues could be technical SEO issues, website structure issues, on-page SEO issues, potential off-site problems, user experience issues, content related issues, etc.
91. What is the Google dance?
Google Dance refers to the fluctuations that happened in the ranking of web pages due to index updates of Google’s search engine. Google dance was witnessed in the past when the update used to happen on a monthly basis and it used to last for a few days. Now, Google updates its index almost every day.
92. What is article spinning?
Article spinning is a black hat SEO technique wherein you rewrite a single article by modifying the words to produce its multiple copies in such a way that each copy is treated as a new article. These articles have low quality, repetitive content. Such articles are posted to a site to create the illusion of fresh articles.
Open-ended SEO Interview Questions
Below are SEO interview questions the interviewer might ask to assess how you think and to know your personal opinions on matters. It is important to answer them confidently and honestly. So take some time, introspect on the below questions and keep your answers ready.
93. Which SEO blogs do you follow?
94. Who is your favourite SEO Expert?
95. Apart from Google which search engine you would choose and why?
96. Do you consider SEO to be the most important aspect of digital marketing?
97. How did you learn SEO?
98. In your opinion, what qualities or skills an SEO analyst must have?
99. Why did you choose SEO for a career?
100. Which SEO tools do you regularly use?
101. Have you read about any recent news or updates in the SEO industry?
Here is a Bonus list of Full Forms:
URL: Uniform Resource Locator
SERP: Search Engine Results Pages
HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol
HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer
SSL: Secure Sockets Layer
LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing
XML: Extensible Markup Language
PBN: Private Blog Network
CTA: Call To Action
CTR: Click Through Rate
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization
CAPTCHA: Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart
We hope the above SEO interview questions and answers have instilled a level of confidence in you to face an SEO job interview. We would advise you to read more on topics that seem unclear to you.
All the best for the interview and wish you a rewarding career in the SEO industry.